Wednesday, August 06, 2008

T-mobile USA: Officially the last major network in US for 3G

Once upon a time, I loved T-mobile.

In fact around the start of this blog, actually.

This was not without good reason- T-Mobile may be struggling now, but they used to be the TOP of their game when it came to wireless data not too long ago.
Now, they are officially the last major network to roll out 3G data service.

Oh, the irony.

Just after the turn of the century, when Deutsch Telecom bought out VoiceStream to create T-mobile USA, the country was introduced to many new exciting data services and devices.
T-mobile USA had an advantage over the other new budding GSM networks because T-Mobile in Europe was already one of the leading wireless providers in the world, and brought some of that experience to the States along with mass-produced GSM phones.
The end result was T-mobile was the first to offer many bleeding edge data handsets, such as the first Blackberry with integrated voice (Blackberry 5810), the first Pocket PC Phone (XDA), and Danger's HipTop (Sidekick).

But, it seemed T-mobile was more interested in flashing their new handsets than improving their network. Meanwhile, GSM competitors AT&T and Cingular were slowly gaining subscribers by adding towers and rolling out their faster data networks.
By the time T-Mobile said they were rolling out EDGE (2.5G) data services, Cingular and AT&T had combined into one company, and had already announced their 3G network plans.
Meanwhile, CDMA providers Verizon and Sprint had already had their EVDO 3G network running. Somehow in the mix of things, T-mobile had fallen to the bottom of the pack.

T-mobile was my service of choice for many years; they had an open network design that allowed 3rd party handsets, super competitive data pricing, and always treated me well as a customer. I almost felt bad leaving them, as if I'm somehow cheating on a loved one. But, in the summer of 2007 when I heard that T-mobile's plans for 3G might take them into 2009 before full rollout, I decided it was time to jump ship. EVERYONE had 3G by then, except T-mobile USA. It was time to give up.

I'm now with Sprint, who has excellent 3G coverage.
Now, I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that Sprint is the best network out there, however I have 3G in places AT&T does not, and although Sprint has its infamous customer service snafoos, I've been thoroughly impressed by their network services.
Between their competitive services and pricing, and the fact that they've been in talks about 4G WiMax (Xohm) for a while already, I've never looked back to T-mobile since making the move.

T-mobile has recently announced it is rolling out 3G by Oct 1 in 27 major cities. While its good to see that they're going to make it 3 months shy of the 2009 prediction, its very possible it will be well into 2009 before a more national rollout is complete.

Once upon a time, I would have been ecstatic to see this news. Now, I can only sigh and feel bad for all those still stuck with the big pink T. I'm really, really, glad I left. *sigh*